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George Adamski: Hoaxer or Something Else?

Greg Bishop has carefully studied the life and ufological claims of the infamous UFO Contactee George Adamski. Greg tells the story of what happened on a certain, controversy-filled day in 1952: “…Adamski left his Palomar mountain retreat at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday November 20, 1952 along with his lifetime secretary Lucy McGinnis and Alice Wells – the owner of the property where Adamski gave lectures on Universal Law and the café where he flipped burgers to pay the rent. At about 8:00 a.m. they met with Al Bailey and his wife Betty, and George Hunt Williamson [a fellow-Contactee] and his wife, Betty, in Blythe, [California] just west of the Arizona / California border.”

The group then suddenly turned back, on what was described as a “hunch.” They retraced their steps, taking a small highway eleven miles northeast towards the town of Parker, Arizona, where they stopped. After breakfast, the group scanned the skies for saucers. Passing motorists slowed down, wondering what was going on. When, around noon, an aircraft flew over the group, it provoked brief excitement. The main event was still to come, however. In fact, it was only moments away: a huge, silver-colored, cigar-shaped UFO suddenly loomed into view.

Greg continues: “Williamson asked: ‘Is that a space ship?’, as Betty Bailey tried to set up a movie camera, but couldn’t because ‘she was so excited.’ According to Adamski, they were anxious not to attract attention to the object, so they didn’t point at it and alert other passing cars to this event.”

“Someone take me down the road, quick! That ship has come looking for me and I don’t want to keep them waiting!” Adamski yelled, as he jumped into the car with McGinnis and Mr. Bailey. About a half-mile down the road, with the craft shadowing them, Adamski told McGinnis to turn off the road. He then instructed the two to “go back to the others as quickly as possible…and watch for anything that might take place” – from the safe viewing distance of half a mile or more away. After this first craft was chased away by interceptor jets, another “beautiful small craft” arrived and landed behind the crest of a mountain about half a mile away.

George Adamski

George Adamski

Adamski soon saw a figure waving to him and walked towards it. Adamski said of this experience: “I fully realized I was in the presence of a man from space – a human being from another world!” The entity identified himself as Orthon. After some warnings about atomic weapons and wars, and a refusal to be photographed, Orthon returned to his ship and sailed away. A controversy of massive proportions had just begun – one which still exists today (check out Greg’s book Wake Up Down There! for the complete, detailed article I have quoted from above). Also, see Greg’s latest book, It Defies Language! for more on his thoughts on the Contactee issue.

One of the more insightful people on the matter of Adamski – and his life and claims – is Colin Bennett, the author of the book, Looking for Orthon. I interviewed Bennett some years ago on the matter of Adamski. Bennett told me: “Adamski was not an educated man, and he used the better-educated Williamson as he used Desmond Leslie. That is, as an extra cerebral lung. As such George Hunt Williamson was the top of Adamski’s multi-media head. As they used to say in those days, the both tripped one another out. The Mojave was certainly rich in ancient Indian legends concerning flying vehicles. This was one of the reasons why George Hunt Williamson and the Baileys accompanied Adamski to the desert.”

Bennett expanded: “It is more than possible that the group wanted to conjure up something like the kind of presence that they thought they had contacted from their automatic writing, and at least Adamski got more than he bargained for. A combination of high intrigue, burgeoning technology combined with the ancient desert and its prehistoric features was not to be trifled with, and a genie came right out of the alchemical bottle. All the best books on occultism contain the warning that the attempted raising of images is not to be taken lightly.”



There is the following from Bennett, too: “Adamski’s ‘core story’ began to run out of steam very quickly. His followers demanded to know more about Orthon ‘the spaceman,’ and they asked if Adamski had been on yet more journeys in Orthon’s flying saucer. Adamski, the all-American showman, anxious not to disappoint, then turned back to literature, as it were, in order to create new episodes for life. This got him into a terrible wrap-round tangle, and subsequently he pasted-up any and every kind of covered-wagon to try and keep the Orthon story going. This lost him almost all of his latter-day following, and he was finished. But history refused to erase him. The core story was archetypal; it had a kind of irresistible intellectual eroticism about it.”

Bennett also had this to say to me: “George Adamski played a significant part in establishing New Age thinking. It might be well to remember that the entire body of our moral philosophy and spiritual life is formed by visions and inspirations. It does not come from science or technology. Those who thoughtlessly dismiss mystical experience cut themselves off from all art, literature, and no small part of all thought and philosophy.

“As mystics and prophets know, when desert light strikes the retina, anything that can be imagined can happen. The greatest tribute that can be paid to Adamski is that through both foul means and fair, he helped to create one of the very few routes to the unconscious we have.”

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  • Jerry Cornelius

    I´ve often wondered the same thing, was Adamski just a hoaxer or did he really have some weird experiences or was he deluded on some way (by whom?) Somehow he seems to be a bit gullible person… And seriously, Orthon sounds like some kind of a dentist….

  • lukus

    I always thought Adamski and his UFO pictures were completely ridiculous. The only thing that would make the pictures more ridiculous would be seeing “Spalding” written across one of the ping pong ball feet. He’s a big part of the reason UFO believers are looked at like crack pots.

  • christopher o’brien

    Good article Nick! From the FWIW dept: Rex & Ray Stanford made several trips to visit Adamski in the early-to-mid ’50s and got to know him during their extended stays at his Mt Polomar home. Ray says that on their last trip, he stumbled on GA’s hidden photo studio where he evidently hoaxed most of his photos. The glowing objects circling around the mothership photo were pained w/ radium paint, FYI. Many of the other shots were double exposures and Ray found rejects that had objects out of place, etc. Ray said that GA fessed up when confronted w/ their sleuthing. Ray thinks GA may have had a legit sighting experience early on, (His first film?) but that the rest were stories and outright hoaxes. Orthon? 🙂 I don’t think so…More on the contactees from primary witnesses in my as yet unpublished book on Ray Stanford…and my dog sings Chopin.

  • RKSDooM

    Orthon appears to be flying a Dalek saucer – neat!

  • Old_Wise

    Some swear by Adamski, some swear AT Adamski…hard to determine who may the more correct; however, after many years of research and contact with a few who knew him, I’ve come to the conclusion, he was most likely, mostly hot air.

  • christopher o’brien

    Adams called it his “laboratory” and he showed it to both Rex and Ray. Norman Kusseth, who was his camera tech, also showed R & R which photos were faked. Early on he was able to get a couple of shots, but all the famous ones from later were faked. Sorry dude, hates to burst your true-believer bubble…

  • Old_Wise


    I completely agree with almost all of what you write and especially with your comment about legends tarnishing through time. After reading more than a bit about Meier and despite the beliefs of his legitimacy by a good friend, I’m also of the opinion he is anything but legitimate. Heh, heh, you’re also damn right about it ALL being controversial!

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever heard of or read about Brian Scott? Much of it is in a book titled “Transformation of the Common Man” and was written by one of the three people involved in the case. The friend referred to above was personally involved in that case for many years and was a firsthand witness to a great deal of the strangeness which took place. There are also videos on YouTube.

  • J.Griffin

    I am not immediately familiar with
    Brian Scott by name but I will look into that case.

    To me,
    the greatest point to consider in these cases is the implants-
    whether they are MILABS or
    actual “aliens”,
    they DO present tangible evidence.

    I am of the persuasion that there is more than just a “nuts&bolts” explanation to all this-
    there does seem to be an escalating curve of overlapping encounters with the paranormal
    in general by many people worldwide.

    Whilst this is often considered merely to be a consequence of social media,etc.,
    I do believe that there are events&encounters that are escalating in scope&frequency.

    I have had my own experiences and I have seen
    and known tangible evidence first hand from those that others have had,
    as well.

    To be sure,
    It is a grave mistake to assume that what we see&attempt to control is the largest part of the universe-
    in scope OR scale.

    We do not know
    as much as we think we do
    we are not as strong
    as we think we are.

    We have had access to electricity,microscopes and telescopes for SUCH a short time-
    not to mention our
    “new toy”,
    the computer.

    the ancient Greeks had one thing in their science that we do not-
    a deep aversion to hubris.

    It is that hubris that makes science as we misunderstand it so dangerous…

    What good is knowledge without wisdom?

  • J.Griffin

    It’s sub-zero.

    Classical ignorance threatens only the individual and those that they can threaten,
    Whereas the arrogance of ignorance cloaked in high technology threatens the entire world….
    and not just the human inhabitants,

    “A man’s gotta know his limitations…”
    -Clint Eastwood
    as “Dirty Harry”
    in “Magnum Force”

    Einstein and B. Russell saw this-
    the notion did not quite catch on.

    May your Season be Merry…
    -J. G.

  • Old_Wise

    Heh, heh…you quoted from one of my favorite movie characters with your reference to Dirty Harry. Obviously, as a former cop (12+ years), I loved all those movies. I would also agree with what you stated about arrogance of ignorance threatening everything/everything.

    BTW…which part of the country are you from? CA, here; born and raised down south and now up north.

  • Erickson

    It was a world where the space people wanted us to live in peace; where the FBI could worry that Adamski’s message might be communistic; where Aura was named in a divorce proceeding and Buck was taken to Venus. But in many ways it was not that different than today.

    It’s not that far from Adamski trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat to BeWitness and the slides – from Orthon to hybrids on stage at UFO conferences. George tapped into archetypal longing. That longing is still with us.